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De-bunking the “SEX!” Myth

SEX! SEX! SEX! Does seeing or hearing the word sex make you feel uncomfortable? As a first-generation Chinese immigrant all it takes is seeing ‘sex’ on a computer screen to make me feel extremely awkward and uneasy. This could be attributed to the fact that growing up my parents never gave me the sex-talk. In fact, discussing any sex-related topic was strictly forbidden in my household. 

During family movie nights, whenever a sex scene came on my mom would quickly rush over to me and cover my eyes, ensuring that my innocence was protected.

My parents would remind me time and time again that watching pornography was bad and only terrible people did such things.

When I first got my period my mom patiently showed me how to use a pad but never a tampon. You see, tampons are to be used only by married women.

I’m not the only girl that’s been brought up this way.

NU, a NEW Toronto-based not for profit group of newcomers and sexual health enthusiasts recognizes that many immigrant cultures turn away from conversations around sexual health. And I don’t just mean the “sex talk”, I mean everything from traditional topics like pregnancy and STIs to relationships, marriage, body positivity and pleasure. You might think don’t people just figure it out eventually? Well as someone who has grown up in both cultures I find myself torn between the two. On one hand western culture is pulling me towards a culture that constantly portrays sex in the media, while my native culture is pulling me towards a culture that is absent of anything and everything to do with sex. So no, I still haven’t found the answers to many of my sexual health questions. I’m not the only newcomer that’s still searching for answers, research shows newcomers are 3X more likely to have poorer sexual health outcomes than Canadian-born counterparts.

So what does this all mean?

It means that we need to open up the conversation and start talking about our sexual health.

NU’s first step towards starting the conversation is through the launch of their blog series titled NUANCE. This blog series will feature newcomers, immigrants, and second generation youth writers living in Toronto and the GTA. If you identify as any of the above and you have a story around sexual health, they want to hear it! Through stories, NU hopes to explore the nuances of newcomer youth’s experiences and diversify the sexual health conversation.

Please stay tuned for more information on the launch of NUANCE, and follow them on social media to be the first to know!

In the meantime, visit www.nuhere.org to learn more about the organization and understand the work that they’re doing. While you’re at it, follow us on Facebook and Twitter as well!

Allie is a third year Law & Business student at Ryerson University. She spends most of her time re-watching The Hills, Gossip Girl and The Mindy Project. Other times she'll often spend instagramming pictures of her dog named Dumpling. Follow Allie on Instagram @ahl33 to see pictures of Dumpling! 
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